Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Tele-bisyo, or Couch Potato Memoirs

I grew up in the 70s. I remember that day in 1972 when suddenly there was no TV. My older brother felt bad that he couldn’t watch his favorite shows, but me being very young I just accepted the fact. Martial Law was a foreign concept to me. The way my parents explained it to me, Martial Law meant curfew (no one should be out on the streets by 7pm) and that we should never, ever say anything bad about The Marcoses and the government. I think my parents feared that if we say anything derogatory, we’d be plucked out of our house in the middle of the night by soldiers, sent to Camp Crame, and disappear eventually. For my brother, Martial Law meant no more Funny Company and Gentle Ben on TV.

Back then television sets had tubes (de-tubo) and were encased in wooden sets with sliding doors. They often had two speakers (one on each side) even though the sound was mono. When we wanted to switch channels or raise the volume, one of us—usually it’s the youngest or the one nearest—had to get up, go to the TV set and turn a knob. Colored TV was a luxury only those in Forbes Park could afford; for the rest of us Filipinos we settled for a TV screen anti-radiation guard. These blue-tinted transparent plastic screens (supposedly) reduced glare and radiation; personally I think they just succeeded in making everyone on TV look sickly. And when we switched off the TV, we’d all wait for that white spot in the middle of the screen to disappear before we slid the doors closed; by waiting for the spot to disappear, we kids felt that we were prolonging our TV-watching experience.

When Marcos allowed the stations to start broadcasting again, most of the programs were canned shows. The local shows were tightly watched to make sure there were no incendiary comments made against the government. News broadcasts were controlled. Our parents must have felt it was safer for their kids to just watch canned shows rather than local shows.

So I grew up watching cop/detective shows like The Mod Squad, Mannix, Adam 12 (I had a crush on both cops!), Hawaii Five-O, Starsky and Hutch, (I watched the episode where David Soul sang his hit “Don’t Give Up On Us”!), CHiPs, Hillstreet Blues, 21 Jump Street (only the Johnny Depp years; I didn’t like Richard Grieco), Cop Rock, Cagney and Lacey, Remington Steele, and Moonlighting.

I was also a big sci-fi fan: Land Of The Lost, Time Tunnel, UFO, Stingray (in its full marionette glory!) Lost In Space, Star Trek, Space: 1999, Logan’s Run, Battlestar Galactica, Man From Atlantis (ooohhh, Patrick Duffy!), Six Million Dollar Man, Bionic Woman, Dr. No, Sapphire and Steel.

Of course there were the cartoons: Popeye, Banana Splitz, Mightor, Moby Dick, Herculoids, (my favorite was the laser-firing dragon), Wacky Races, (my favorite was Number 2, the one with the haunted castle and—hmmm—a dragon), Yogi Bear, Magilla Gorilla, Scoobie Doo, Josie and The Pussycats, Charlie Chan and the Chan Clan. Then came the robot series: Mekanda, Daimos, Mazinger Z, Balatak, Voltes V.

And my favorite educational shows: Sesame Street and The Electric Company.

Other favorite shows include Dance Fever, MV2 (I think this is the first local program which aired music videos regularly; MTV was not yet available locally), Rhythm of the City, Penthouse Live!, Student Canteen, and Lunch Date.

Now that I’m working on public TV, I really don’t have time to watch television. If I do have time to flip through channels, I’d much rather watch cable channels than free TV. Ah, the irony.


Blogger sky said...

Don't forget Flying House! Pero wa epek sa akin ito. Masamang tao pa rin ako.

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Phillip said... Super Book! Hihihihihi.. Did you mention the Wonder Years? Ah teka, hindi pala yun 70's. Hehe.

6:24 PM  
Blogger McVie said...

Sky: I know Flying House, but I was never a fan. Bible stories kasi eh, hehehe.

Phillip: Hindi rin ako fan ng Super Book. Fan ako ng early years ng Wonder Years, but after a while I tuned out. I had more important things to do instead of staying at home and watching TV--lakwatsa at teatro primarily! Hahaha.

6:38 PM  

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